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Oct 29, 2018

A New Master Plan for the Corozal Free Zone

Dean Barrow

The PM says that there is a new master plan for the Commercial Free Zone in Corozal which will be rolled out in the coming months to revamp economic activity in the Corozal District, with exemptions being made for businesses willing to relocate to the CFZ.  Government is also going to be boosting tourism activities up north.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“First, a master plan for the repurposing of the Corozal Free Zone is already in preparation via a consultancy from the I.D.B. and in fact, the technical assistance project we signed with the I.D.B. is actually titled, and this is important, support for export-led development in all of Corozal, including the Corozal Free Zone.  It’s not just limited to the Corozal Free Zone.  The London company known as Vivid Economics with long experience around the world in assisting Free Zones and special economic areas to take advantage of trade realities and opportunities is heading the project and some of the ideas, it’s early days yet, but some of the ideas already mooted include attracting business process outsourcing entities to the zone and to Corozal Town and to the Corozal District generally.  Special exemptions would be offered to those willing to locate in Corozal.  These exemptions could include special rebates for land purchase, offsets for development costs.  Another plan is to launch a digital skills development training program in the district and to use the zone as a services center of employment for tourism in Corozal.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Has there been any consultation with the private sector, perhaps the Chamber of Commerce in respect of their concerns regarding this particular move and how it will affect Belize City downward?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Not formally, I’ve been in touch with the president and other leading likes of the Chamber and we agreed that in due course we could formalize a meeting.  But in the meantime, government has examined the issue and that is what government is supposed to do.  We are quick off the mark and we’ve been able to say what we did earlier because of the research that was done, because of in fact calling in our ambassador in Mexico or calling on him to get us the correct information.  That’s part of the problem, again when you just spoke you said Chetumal becoming a free zone and I had just finished telling you that is not the plan.  Halving the VAT does not turn Chetumal into a free zone, there will still be the eight percent VAT and besides, I’ve said, and I will say again, the doubling of the minimum wage means that you are not looking at anything close to an eight percent reduction in costs.”

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